Kevin Harvick sells team to Eddie Sharp

LOUDON, N.H. -- Kevin Harvick has sold his controlling interest in his Trucks Series team to Eddie Sharp Racing, ending a 10-year run of ownership that included two series championships.

ESR will expand from a one-entry team to three in 2012. In the deal announced Friday, ESR acquired the No. 8 and No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. trucks. The lineup for next year will be announced in October.

Harvick had announced this month he planned to shutter his program at the end of the year. He also had announced this month that his two Nationwide Series entries would move to Richard Childress Racing next year.

"Our main concern when we decided to do what we did with KHI was to do everything we could to keep everything on the track," Harvick said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "With Eddie acquiring the two teams, that's going to give everybody the opportunity to move forward."

The decision to close KHI will have put about 140 employees on the job market, but Harvick was hopeful many of them would be hired at RCR when the KHI Nationwide teams move to that building.

Those employees also might be able to stay on at ESR, which operates out of Denver, N.C.

"He's going to come to the shop and interview people and make sure they fit into his company and want to be a part of his company," Harvick said.

KHI was started by Harvick and his wife, DeLana, in 2002. Harvick pinned most of his decision to sell the team based on business reasons and to focus on winning a Sprint Cup championship.

Eddie Sharp Racing owns the No. 6 truck in the series, which this season belongs to Justin Lofton. Four-time series champion Ron Hornaday drives the No. 33 for KHI and Nelson Piquet Jr. drives the No. 8.

The third KHI truck has been shared by several drivers and was not part of the deal.

"Those two teams will be on track," Harvick said. "For him it's a great way to build his company with two teams that are already established, and if he can get the people to go along with him, that's even better."

Sharp founded his team in 2006.

"The timing couldn't have been any more perfect," Sharp said. "We are ready to take this opportunity head-on to utilize what Kevin and DeLana have built. It was a marriage made in heaven, because we were ready to move forward at ESR, and this opportunity worked out perfectly. With KHI, you have a turnkey, successful program at the ready."

KHI fielded its first truck in 2002 and Hornaday won two titles for the team in 2007 and 2009.

"We're obviously going a different direction with our lives and business," Harvick said. "To have the people have the opportunity to still have jobs and move forward is the part that we've been concentrating on at this point -- to try to help them."